I also learned that being poor is not a recognized "hardship" for being excused from jury duty. Now, this attempted excuse was repeated almost ten times, which made me wonder, "Is this really the 'go to' excuse when you don't want to be a juror?" How about, "I have a heart that might stop at any moment?" Or exclaiming, "I think all murderers should be released!" Why tell the court yous poor? If anything, if you are poor you should be on jury duty because you get paid 15 dollars a day (yeah, you read that right) and the possibility of getting a free lunch.
The other strange part of the juror orientation was the fact that after spending 180 minutes explaining all the ways we could get out of jury duty they then showed us a five minute video of testimonials of how cool it is to be a juror. I really think someone in the courthouse PR department should think about the conflicting messages they are conveying - 1. Hey, get out of jury duty, everyone is doing it. (Unless you are poor) vs. 2. Jury duty is right next to saving a dolphin out of a tangled patch of seaweed. So, do it.
Lastly, I must admit, as I sat there freezing to death, I started to strangely replay Runaway Jury in my mind. All of the sudden I became a reincarnated John Cusack (minus the trench coat and boom box) and started to calculate who I would be able to manipulate into voting my way. I had pinned down about four clueless people, when a courthouse worker announced we were no longer needed.
Civic duty - check. I really think I could have owned that jury if given the chance.